From the Erie Otters ...


Erie, Pennsylvania - The Otters claimed the Wayne Gretzky Trophy for the first time since 2002 Saturday night in game six with a 7-3 victory over the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Alex DeBrincat notched a hat trick and Connor McDavid recorded five points in the win.


It took 2:49 for Nick Betz to break the ice, giving the Otters an early 1-0 lead. Michael Bunting tied the game minutes later, bringing the tally to 1-1 before, two and a half minutes later on the power play, Jared McCann gave the Greyhounds their only lead of the game. Jake Marchment didn't need long to put the Otters back on the board, finding an opening behind Brandon Halverson and closing the first period with a tie.


The tie stood for nearly the first half of the second period, with Devin Williams making save after save. Remi Elie nearly put the Otters in the lead, but, despite the goal light and fan celebration, the review held the no-goal call. Williams was knocked over next to his net, causing a scrum to the side. Hayden Verbeek was handed a match penalty for slew footing, putting the Otters on a five-minute power play.


DeBrincat notched his first of the night on the power play before, a minute and a half later, McDavid broke through the Greyhounds defense and put the Otters up 4-2, a lead they held into the third period after the Greyhounds killed a brief five on three.


With the Greyhounds on a power play of their own not even five minutes into the period, Darnell Nurse brought the Soo within one, making it 4-3. Penalties went back and forth, each team having huge chances to get their team back on the board. 


Just over halfway through the period, Nick Baptiste beat Halverson not even 30 seconds into the power play, giving the Otters a two-goal lead. It took not even three minutes for DeBrincat to notch his second, igniting an already booming crowd. Sault Ste. Marie called Halverson to the bench with over four minutes to go and DeBrincat finished his hat trick and solidified the win with an empty net goal.


McDavid set a new Otters record for points in a series with 19, breaking his own record of 14, set in the semi-final with London.  DeBrincat's hat trick was the fifth of the playoffs for the Otters, the other four being scored by McDavid (2), Marchment and Baptiste. Kurtis MacDermid returned to the lineup after an eight-game suspension, and finished plus-3 for the night.


The Otters will face the winner of the Eastern Conference Final series between the Oshawa Generals and North Bay Battalion.


The Iron Workers Local Union No. 3 Ironmen of the Game:


1. Connor McDavid - 1G, 4A


2. Alex DeBrincat - 3G


3. Travis Dermott - 3A